Estate Planning FAQs
Q: What is Estate Planning?
A: Estate planning is the process of planning for the distribution of someone’s assets after his or her death and during incapacity. The process can include planning for health care and end-of-life decisions. Estate planning is unique to each person’s situation and circumstance.
Q: Who Needs Estate Planning?
A: Everyone should have some sort of estate plan. Many people put off estate planning or simply think they don’t need it. Even if you don’t think you have assets, you will still benefit from having an estate plan. If you have minor children, you should definitely have an estate plan. If you want your estate distributed according to your wishes and not by rules imposed by the state, you should have an estate plan.
Q: How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan?
A: An estate plan is not permanent. Things can change and life events happen. Estate plans should at least be reviewed at least every 2-3 years. If a major change occurs, plans should be reviewed immediately. Some examples of major changes include: birth, death, marriage, divorce, large increase or decrease in net worth or assets, moving to a different state or the purchase or sale of a business.
Q: What Makes Up My Estate?
A: An estate consists of all assets that you possess at the time you die. Some examples are real estate, business interests, personal property, cash, life insurance benefits, retirement plans and IRAs, stocks, and bonds.
Q: What Should An Estate Plan Include?
A: Estate plans are very personal and they vary from person to person. However, the typical estate plan includes a Revocable Living Trust, a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will, Designation of Health Care Surrogate, Declaration Naming Preneed Guardian, HIPAA authorization and Durable Power of Attorney.
Q: What Is A Durable Power Of Attorney?
A: A Durable Power of Attorney is a document giving an agent of your choice the power to make business and financial decisions on your behalf.
Q: What Is A Health Care Surrogate?
A: A Health Care Surrogate is an adult who is selected to make healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to make them for yourself.